10 Laptops That Give You The Best Value For The Money4:00 PM EST Wed. Feb. 29, 2012
Value has different meaning to different people and different enterprises, and it's difficult to peg any one type of laptop as a "value" laptop. Every manufacturer will tell you every laptop provides value. But here's a look at laptops with specifications that we believe spell value for the lion's share of enterprises regardless of size or mission.
For about $325 on the street, the ThinkPad X120e is less than the cost of an iPad or Android tablet yet provides a ton of features you can't ignore. Business-black with the red ThinkPad trackpoint, this product was built with an AMD E350 CPU, 350 GB of storage and preloaded with Windows Home Premium. It comes it at 3.3 pounds and will provide a full day of battery life with light office use. Lenovo has stopped offering this model direct but it can still be found in the channel, and we think it drives nice value.
Built with an AMD E-class CPU, the HP 2000z Series has specs that do two things that we like for smaller businesses: They eliminate cost and they eliminate complexity. With street pricing in the $350 to $370 range, the 2000z Series has the important bells and whistles but within a standard business-style framework: three USB ports, a 15.6-inch monitor, and a black/charcoal finish that eliminates distraction.
Forget the $2,750 list price, this is about value and Lenovo’s ThinkPad W520 brings it. From the Core i7 CPU to the 160-GB SSD, this was built to perform and perform it does. For power users, the ThinkPad W520 will save time on tasks such as video, CAD or animation rendering. And since time is money, the ROI will come quicker for power users with the W520 than many other systems available.
With a starting list price of less than $500 and built with a second-gen Core i3 CPU from Intel --although it's also available in Core i5 and Core i7 flavors, at memory of 4 GB, 6 GB and 8 GB of RAM at higher prices -- think of the Dell Inspiron 15R as a quickly deployable and potentially powerful system.
We've always thought of the Toshiba Satellite series as the Cal Ripken Jr. of notebooks: steady, reliable and consistent. With list pricing starting at less than $500, the Satellite L750 provides specifications you need for basic office work: an Intel Core i3 CPU, 500 GB of on-board storage with its HDD, Intel graphics and a 15.6-inch display. It's not a thin-and-light (starting weight is 5.7 pounds), but it'll get you there nonetheless.
Acer has had a great decade in the laptop market, seeing periods of market-share gains that have vaulted it into "player" status in Tier 1. With the Travelmate TM5744-6467, you see a notebook with specs that will show you why: second-gen Core i3 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, 15.6-inch display and solid battery life. Starting list price: $547.
It may be taking a backseat at times to its Series 9 big brother, but the Samsung Series 3 brings a lot of value in a small package. With street pricing at just less than $600, it provides a light (a tad more than 3 pounds) form factor with second-gen Intel Core CPUs and support for HDMI, two USB ports, VGA, Bluetooth and a multicard slot.
Another sub-$600 laptop running second-gen Intel Core technology, the specs show a system that provides all the important support for critical media, plus Fujitsu's great wide-screen display technology and on-board DVD drive, which you don’t automatically get in every laptop anymore.
How else could most folks own a Lamborghini for less than $800? This ASUS Eee PC is the only Atom-based system we consider to be true value, since it adds not just the name or power of the sports car, but Windows 7 and traditional PC computing in a light form factor.
Not every value laptop runs Windows. Apple’s latest line of MacBook Pro notebooks, which start at about $1,199 for a 13-inch display, provides second-gen Intel core processing and everything the market has come to love about the Mac OS X operating system. It also supports the Apple Thunderbolt Display, which provides the capacity to turn the MacBook Pro into a desktop like the iMac.